Milestone has a knack for delivering solid racing titles the way few other studios in the industry do, and soon, the developer will be releasing Hot Wheels Unleashed 2: Turbocharged, the sequel to its acclaimed 2021 Hot Wheels racing title. From new multiplayer modes and a new story-driven campaign to improvements to the on-track experience and more, Turbocharged is looking like it’s going to build on its predecessor’s excellent foundation in some promising ways. To learn more about exactly how the game aims to do that, we recently sent across some of our questions to Milestone. Below, you can read our interview with associate creative director and head of design Andrea Basilio.
"The first Hot Wheels Unleashed was a huge success, and we were really happy about it, but we also know that we can improve it still having a lot of stuff and new ideas to give to our players."
Hot Wheels Unleashed 2 adds new abilities like jumping and lateral dashes. How much will that impact the moment-to-moment gameplay? What kind of changes can we expect from the track design with those new movement options in mind?
The first Hot Wheels Unleashed was a huge success, and we were really happy about it, but we also know that we can improve it still having a lot of stuff and new ideas to give to our players. Making a sequel for a successful game is a big challenge, it is easy to break something that works well, but at the same time you do not want to put a number 2 on the cover and add some minor stuff. We worked hard to find the way to enrich the gameplay and don’t lose the Unleashed spirit.
The new game mechanics: Jump and Lateral Dash are the most “visible” news implemented in the game and also the elements that will change the gameplay completely. We already saw people doing amazing “stunts” in the previous game, and we are very curious to see what they are going to do with these two new amazing tools.
How much variety will Hot Wheels Unleashed 2 offer across its variety of vehicles, especially with the addition of motorbikes and ATVs?
We have added new vehicles in Unleashed 2, the player can enjoy new cars and trucks but also, for the first time, bikes and ATVs. On day one the game will have a roster of over 130 vehicles, we learned a lot about our audience from the first game and we built the selection of Vehicles based on their feedback and suggestions. Of course, like in the first game, there will be a good mix between Hot Wheels Originals and Hot Wheels license from the real world.
Can you talk us through the changes that Hot Wheels Unleashed 2 is making with its customization and upgrade mechanics? How much depth can players expect from those systems?
One pillar of the first Hot Wheels Unleashed was that is possible to win with every car, it is a toy world, and it doesn’t matter if you play with a supercar or with the garbage truck, you can win anyway. In Hot Wheels Unleashed 2 we worked more around this concept creating categories of Vehicles that are capable of winning but at the same time have different gameplay traits; for instance, the Rocket are faster, the Heavy Duty are more, well heavy, and difficult to move out from the track, etc. In the game, there are five categories. It is also possible to upgrade the vehicle using in-game currency to improve its performance and unlock more perks.
I’m speaking about perks because every vehicle has a perk three to unlock, and in this way, any player can customize their garage according to their playstyle because the perks are small gameplay modifiers.
"One pillar of the first Hot Wheels Unleashed was that is possible to win with every car, it is a toy world, and it doesn’t matter if you play with a supercar or with the garbage truck, you can win anyway. In Hot Wheels Unleashed 2 we worked more around this concept creating categories of Vehicles that are capable of winning but at the same time have different gameplay traits."
What are the biggest improvements you’ve made with Hot Wheels Unleashed 2’s track editor toolset?
The editor is the feature that we are probably most proud of. In the first Hot Wheels, we had more than half a million tracks created by our players. In the new game, we added new special modules and we also improved the management of the track sections on the floor. As an important part of the game, the title features different types of terrains with different grips and we expect more tracks based on the floor.
With the addition of several new solo and multiplayer modes, Turbocharged is promising a variety of ways to play. How much of that did come about in response to feedback from the community?
I can say 100% we observe and listen carefully to what our community wants, and definitely, they want more game modes, especially online. So, we worked hard for it, and we also completely changed our online system in order to allow players to make a party before joining a race, also cross-platform.
What can you tell us about the game’s new story-driven campaign mode? Has it been designed as a sort of bedding-in experience to lead into the rest of the game’s offerings?
As a developer, approaching something new is always exciting, and creating a story-driven campaign was something new for us. The Campaign is similar in some ways to the first one, but it is improved in every aspect, and also with heroes, cut scenes, and everything you need for a good story. Follow our channels, soon we will show more about it.
Roughly how long will an average playthrough of the campaign mode be?
It is difficult to say right now, but we carefully listen to the feedback from our community and we created a better overall experience with more mid-term goals and less move to grinding.
The post-launch support for the original Hot Wheels Unleashed was excellent. Do you have similar post-launch plans in place for Turbocharged?
Definitely, we worked hard in the past to give our players exactly what they want. This time, with more experience, our plans are more ambitious but most of all centered on what our players want. The first announcement that we will reveal soon is going to be epic!
What frame rate and resolution will the game target on the PS5 and Xbox Series X/S?
We have 60FPS on all platforms, 4K resolution on PS5 and Xbox X, full HD on Xbox S.
"We observe and listen carefully to what our community wants, and definitely, they want more game modes, especially online."
What frame rate and resolution will the game target on the Switch in docked and undocked modes?
On Switch we have solid 30FPS Full HD in docked mode and HD undocked.
What are your thoughts on the Steam Deck? Do you have plans for any specific optimizations for the device?
Steam Deck is a very nice machine, normally Milestone’s game works natively very well on it.